Vote from Your Seat
Vote from Your Seat is a strategy in which seated participants use their arms to show their answer (up = I agree; down = I disagree) to a prompt or question. This limited-movement strategy ensures that participants feel safe to contribute to the activity, while providing a quick snapshot of participant opinion to generate further dialogue.
Before the activity, create a series of statements on a topic that will evoke an opinion from participants. For example: Learning is easy. Explain that in this activity the group will be asked to listen to a statement and decide whether they agree or disagree with what is being said. If participants agree, raise an arm/hand high into the air. (It can be useful to model this action.) If participants disagree, they should put their hand/arm down to their side. (It can be useful to model this action.) Explain that participants can choose to vote anywhere between “strongly agree” arms up and “strongly disagree” arms down. (Model a middle or “sometimes” vote.) Explain that each statement will be read twice and then the vote will happen. Ask if there are any questions. Read the first prompt twice, the second time, ask participants to vote from their seat. Once the group has voted, ask participants to keep their hands still and to scan the room to see other responses; then ask everyone to put their hands down. When desired, after any statement, the facilitator can lead a dialogue with the group to reflect on the full group response; reflect in pairs on individual responses; or reflect from different ends of the response continuum on the ideas being explored (an “agree” and a “disagree”).
- In general, what did you notice about the responses in the room? When did we most agree? When did we disagree?
- What did we learn about the group from this activity?
- How might these statements make us think differently or understand more about our larger inquiry?
- When you vote, please be sure that your hands clearly display your opinion.
- Remember, this is about your opinion only. There is no right or wrong to this activity.
- This activity is about listening and understanding a new point of view.
- Turn to a neighbor and discuss why you voted the way you did.
- After each discussion allow participants to reassess their placement and “re-vote.”
- Participants can stand or sit to show their opinion.
- See related sociometric variations.